Curse #1 (Comics Review)

Its been a good long while since I’ve read a BOOM! Studios title. I started sometime in 2012 with Hypernaturals, penned by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, and drawn by Brad Walker and Tom Derenick. It was a fairly good series, but I dropped off somewhere in the middle and haven’t gone back. There was Polarity last year by Max Bemis and Paulo Coelho but that’s really it. With all the stuff that comes out from the Big 2, its tough to keep up with titles from other publishers, unless they are really good. With the publisher’s new mini-series Curse however, I think I have a series that I can stick with it.

Its only recently that I’ve really started reading (or getting back to) some horror/supernatural comics, and its mostly been a really fun experience. Coffin Hill, The Darkness, Witchblade etc have really rekindled my interest in the genre. And Curse slots in really nicely with that reading. Its got some really good writing and some good art. And it has supernatural monsters. What could be more fun than that?

Curse 01Man against a freak of nature is an old plot that has been done to the death, but every now and then there comes a particular revisitation that is better written by far than most other such stories and it actually does manage to impress. Whether we talk supernatural monsters of the urban fantasy/horror variety or the kaiju and dinosaurs themselves, such stories are inherently very engaging and they are rooted in our conscious as readers/viewers. We enjoy them because of the long odds faced by the heroes, and that’s ultimately what Curse is about.

Washed-out footballer Laney Griffin is willing to go to any lengths to save his family, no matter what, even if it involves putting his life and his future on the line. Because he is at the breaking point where this is the only approach available to him. Reading through this comic, I was reminded of the backstory of Nathan Ford from the heist drama-procedural Leverage. I know, I know, the genres don’t quite match, but Nate’s backstory is very similar, except that his son is dead. Nate’s backstory is one of the most emotional such that I’ve seen in television and for my money’s worth, Michael Moreci and Tim Daniel capture that sense of desperation and emotion extremely well with their writing. I’m really impressed. They do a great job of establishing the personal stakes in this story and their execution leaves no room for any doubt.

And the monster aspect is also damn good. We start off with a couple pages of the current timeline, and then we go into the “how” and see Laney’s story get set out, as well as how he ran into the monster itself. Given the personal stakes involved, and the relative fast pace of the story, you move through the issue pretty quick. The transitions between the various scenes are handled well, and the two writers end the issue on a good cliffhanger, of the kind that makes me want to come back for the next issue with a lot of excitement.

I’ve said many times that when a story reuses tropes and cliches, the measure of its quality is in the execution, not the core content itself. The quality needs to be good, otherwise its all just a waste of time. Fortunately in this case, Curse is executed very well if we go by this issue alone, and we are, so everything is good here. The next issue should be interesting I think.

The art team also gets double-power with Riley Rossmo and Colin Lorimer on the art duties with Jim Cambell on the letters. It would have been nice to have had a breakdown on which pages were done by Rossmo and which were done by Lorimer. There’s an obvious shift in the art style in the second half of the issue, but I’m hesitant to say that that’s the only place where the art shifts. I couldn’t really tell if there was a shift in the rest of the issue, so I’ll just say that overall, the art is pretty amazing. The characters are very expressive and you can really feel their emotions, whether we talk about their sadness or their indignation or their anger or their rage or anything else. The scenes with the monster are also good ones, whether we see it post-capture or Laney’s first encounter with it. I definitely had fun.

Overall, a brilliant start. Definitely want more.

Rating: 9/10

Posted on January 21, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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